Event Photographer by Maggie Rife Ponce
In my years photographing events in Chicago and New York City, I’ve been to a lot of venues and worked with lots of different clients. When I first started out in this field, I didn’t really understand the full value of the service I was providing. At the time, it was more of a “job.” Now, as a business owner, I really get how high-quality photos are able to convey to your audience, be it prospective clients, corporate board members, or blog readers, what went into that event and how it felt for those there.
I’ve thought through some of the more common questions people might have about event photography offered my take below.
Hopefully, this is helpful, whether your a fellow event photographer or someone looking to hire one.
From a corporate event to the opening of a store or the launch of a new product, showcase the work you put in and what your guests experienced through professional event photos.
Why hire a professional event photographer?
I’ve had over 10 years photographing events in Chicago and New York City. Over that time, I’ve learned that having high-quality photos is key to connecting with future clients. While the latest cell phone models are pretty sophisticated, they’re still limited. A professional photographer will use special equipment like a tripod, shutter release, and long exposure to accurately capture the thoughtful design of transformed event space.
There are also speaker photos to consider, which often call for a longer lens to zoom in close. Guests may be in darker settings and need a flash to illuminate them against the background. The right camera settings bring all these elements together to show the ambiance AND capture the feel of the event.
What should you expect from an event photographer?
When I’m hired for an event, I always like to show up a little early to survey the setting. This helps me for a number of reasons. I want to know where key moments on the timeline will take place so I’m in position beforehand. It helps me know where the best route might be if moving through a large crowd to maximize coverage. For example, a recent event I photographed at the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago spanned three floors and multiple rooms. The speaker for the evening was on the first floor, the DJ was on the second, and guests were invited to check out the artwork on both the second and third floor. I needed to cover a large space and provide all the variety my clients were looking to showcase. Arriving early gave me the chance to familiarize myself beforehand so I was well prepared.
Your event photographer will, ideally, be professional with guests, polite when asking for a picture, pleasant, while blending into the background. They will be there to capture all the key elements in the evening, including decor setup, guests arriving, speaking images, staged groupings, and of course, candid pictures too.
How will I use these pictures?
Well, you know what they say, a picture worth a thousand words. If you’re trying to share what your company does professionally, having high-quality photos go a long way. Your prospective clients will see what your team looks like, the magic (or work) behind transforming a space in a short period of time, decor and entertainment options, guests’ experience, as well as any special guests that may have attended.
These photos will provide you with wonderful material to use for your marketing purposes, including social media and website portfolio pictures.
What are some creative ways to photograph my event?
When many people think of event photography, they picture flash on camera photos of guests and maybe a few speaker pictures. There’s potential for so much more though! I love to find different vantage points that showcase the beautiful settings I’ve been hired to photograph–whether a super-wide-angle low to the floor or up high at a balcony looking down. I also love using long shutter speeds to show movement and create a sense of feeling to the image. Flashes set up on light stands off-camera can also elevate your guest pictures from the average to extraordinary, while time-lapse sequences show how a space is completely transformed in a matter of hours. Additionally, some events also hire photo booth vendors for instant keepsakes to offer guests.